OFII - Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration

Hello everyone.......I'd like to know if anyone can advise on this situation.My sons american girlfriend has 6 weeks left on her long stay visa of 1 year.She didnt realise she had to go through OFII immediatly she arrived.I see they can make a procedure against her as she's not seen as legal.Would they send her back and/or fine her?Is it worth approaching them to explain her problem so she can stay on? Or is it wiser to return to the States now? Appreciate any views.


I strongly suggest that you contact the US consulate in Paris and ask this question, it's important to remember that everyone is different and the system is for ever changing and something this important with future ramifications it's too to make assumptions.

I reckon if she reads this she wont want to come back.As she lives with me she'd have no official paperwork,or income. Of course she may feel different after being in the States again.At the moment my son is thinking of going over there to live,but I imagine it'll be the same kind of controls for him......or worse??

Makes you appreciate being european.

To the issue of being married... yes they can deport you and they will, if you do not go through OFII and get the carte de sejour. Being married does not allow you to stay in the country illegally. BUT it does make things easier.

I married before going back to the States to get my Visa. It made things easier, but I was still required to go back and get the Visa before applying for the carte de sejour.

As Claire stated, the folks at OFII are really nice. I went through the exact same process in Marsaille. It's a half day, but not unpleasant. The xray and all are free. The money you pay is a "tax" for getting the carte de sejour. Then I had to go to a required class for one day to learn about the Republic of France. Some people also have to go through employment and language classes. I was exempted from these by the nice lady at OFII.

Suzy, the one year visa is meant for persons only staying in France for 1 year. If your son's girlfriend is planning to stay, she NEEDS that carte de sejour. I'm only telling you this so she doesn't go through this again next year. They may deny her a visa if she keeps relying on it. As soon as she gets back, have her go to OFII. Believe me, it's not bad, and much better than the worry of what will happen next year.

What IS difficult, is the second year when you renew your carte de sejour. I'm in that process now, and OFII was nothing compared to what I've been through with the sous prefecture. Back to the issue of being married.... they require you PROVE you are really married and not just having an arrangement so you can get into the country. I had to present paperwork showing both of our names, such as electric and phone bill and bank account. And then they sent the gendarmes to my house just last week. They were nice, but they stayed for two hours asking questions and looking around the house (even in my closets) to see if we were indeed co-habitating.

So, I've been told that the first year OFII is pretty lax and gives you the carte de sejour, but the renewal is more difficult. This has been my experience. But it's the only way to legally stay in the country. And if your son and his girlfriend are not married, she's going to have to produce paperwork showing that she has a permanent address (her name on the paperwork) and that she has income and insurance. The basic requirements, provided in the law, are that immigrants can show they have a place to live and they have "sufficient" income.

Here's another piece of advice that I missed. If she's planning to live here, make sure she gets a paper while in the States from the Consulate for moving personal items if she plans to ship anything over. You have to have this paper to avoid taxes and you have to ship within the first year. Same with French driving permit. Do it within the first year. I didn't due to problems with my last name on passport and driver's license (divorced in States and re-married here) and I'm having difficulties with both now.

Best wishes to her.


Thanks everyone for your help.She has decided to go back to the States.

It seems to me a bit much to have to go through a medical screening and pay so much when one has already been given a visa.We're planning a trip to Italie before she goes so hope there'll be no problems crossing the border.Dont know if they check passeports on the train or how thorough they are.

My husband and I are here on a Long-Stay Visa from the States as well. We did know that we needed to do the extra step upon our arrival back in May, we had been forewarned about it from several sources, including the France Consulate in LA. So it was foremost in our minds. It took a 2-hour drive to the OFII Immigration Office in Montpellier, a half a day in the office with a group of others from all over the world in the same situation, and I think 250 euros each, a lung x-ray, doctor's exam, and lots of docs that we needed to bring, in duplicate. (Essentially the same documentation we needed at the France Consulate in LA in the first place to get the Visa itself.) They were actually very nice there, and welcoming and helpful.

I really don't know for sure if your son's girlfriend is up the creek, but I do know it is a big deal to have done it in the sequence required. She may in fact need to go back to the States.

Maybe you can check with some sort of bilingual concierge service that makes its business helping expats. We work with Louise and Mark at http://www.france-sos.com/, though I think perhaps they may be more familiar with the British expat scene.

Good luck to her!



Can't really help with the OP, but at least what Toni said seems quite hopeful... And as long as she leaves before the six weeks is up, she won't face the prosecution that you mention.

Is a wedding in the future anyway? If so, why not bring it forward: surely the Powers-That-Be can't deport someone who is legally married to a legal resident of France?

She's 23.I'm not sure telling her to go back is the worst they would do.They talk about prosecuting for illegal stay on the form.

Yikes! If she didn't get a carte de sejour when she arrived, she's going to have to go back to the States, get another visa, and go to OFII immediately upon return. I suggest she make the appointment with the French Consulate in the U.S. now, before she buys an airline ticket back to the U.S. That way she can arrive just in time for her appointment and then stay long enough to wait for the new visa. I did that when I first came here 2 years ago. I came on my passport for 3 months, made an appointment with the French Consulate in the U.S. before I left here, and arrived just in time for my appointment. My visa then arrived in the mail one week later. I didn't book my ticket back to France until I knew I had my Visa.

She can try to go to the Prefecture and get a Visa extension. My cart de sejour ran out before my renewal was ready and they gave me a 3-month extension; but I already had a 1-year carte de sejour, so not sure if they would do that. And quite frankly, they weren't happy about doing it, but I'm married to a french man, so I guess they felt they must.

Of course, it wouldn't hurt to call OFII. The worst they can do is tell her to go back and get a visa. How old is she?